Waynflete girls dominate NYA; Boys play to a draw
PORTLAND—When Waynflete and North Yarmouth Academy do battle on the pitch, drama is certain to ensue.
The Flyers played host to the Panthers in both a boys' and girls' contest Wednesday afternoon and each game proved memorable for vastly different reasons.
In the girls' contest, Waynflete exploded for four first half goals and for good measure, added four more in the second en route to an 8-0 triumph.
The boys' game, a rematch of last year's palpitating regional final, was much tighter. The Flyers scored in the first half, but the Panthers answered in the second and the teams wound up deadlocked, 1-1.
With at least one more showdown scheduled between each pair of rivals, soccer fans at NYA and Waynflete still have a lot to look forward to.
Both girls' teams came into the 2011 season facing uncertainty.
Waynflete has been hit hard by graduation in recent years and after suffering an 8-0 home loss to perennial Western B power York in its opener, the Flyers had to regroup. First, they had a week off for the school's Outdoor Experience program. Monday, the resurgence began with a 6-2 home victory over Old Orchard Beach, thanks in large part to four goals from senior captain Becky Smith.
NYA underwent even more upheaval between last year and this as standout Lilly Wellenbach graduated, several other key contributors transferred and there was a coaching change as Matt Andreasen replaced Charles Fischman. The Panthers opened with a 3-0 loss at Traip, fell, 1-0, at Sacopee, then scored three times at home against Old Orchard Beach, but lost by one.
Entering Wednesday's game, NYA and Waynflete had played 22 times since 2001, with the Panthers taking 10 meetings, the Flyers nine and three others ending in ties. That includes postseason showdowns every year from 2005 through 2009. NYA beat Waynflete in the 2005 semifinals and the 2006 and 2007 regional finals before the Flyers finally broke through in 2008, beating the Panthers in the Western C Final en route to a championship. They did it again in the 2009 quarterfinals.
Last year, Waynflete won at home, 4-1, and the teams played to a scoreless draw in Yarmouth.
This time, the Flyers struck early and often en route to their biggest win ever over the Panthers.
In the opening minute, Waynflete threatened to take the lead, but junior Sadie Cole couldn't quite corral a loose ball in the box.
With 34:37 to play in the 40-minute first half, the Flyers got the only goal they'd need when sophomore Walker Foehl sent a pass to sophomore Ella Millard, who headed a shot past NYA's freshman goalkeeper Scout Fischman.
With 14:23 left, Millard set up sophomore Ellen Silk with a nice cross that Silk banged home for a 2-0 advantage. Eight minutes later, Millard struck again, scoring unassisted after a corner kick, floating a shot over Fischman and into the net. With 2:44 to play in the half, Smith got in on the act, scoring after a corner kick to make it 4-0 at the break.
"A quick start was huge," Millard said. "We've worked on coming into games as strong and confident as possible and taking their hearts out of their chests, as coach would say. We've been on the other side of it and know how discouraging it is. Part of our drive is to try and do that to other teams."
"It always helps to jump out, especially against your biggest rival," added Waynflete coach Todd Dominski. "Ella set the tone early. Walker did as well and Becky too. We controlled the midfield and spread the ball wide."
The competitive phase of the game was over, but the Flyers weren't done scoring. In the second half, Millard scored twice more and Cole and Smith each had one to account for the 8-0 final score. Foehl wound up with three assists, junior Amelia Mitchell one.
"We just focused on moving the ball a lot and our spacing," said Millard, who finished with four goals and two assists. "We've worked on that since the beginning of preseason. Our goal is quickness of play. We've practiced really hard.
"(The York loss) was definitely a wakeup call. We made a team commitment that it wouldn't happen again. We keep getting better and better. We have a lot of lacrosse players like Sadie and Becky. We have people who assist. It never gets old beating NYA. It's such a mature, respectful rivalry."
"We weren't expecting (to win so decisively)," added Dominski. "I thought we moved the ball well and were able to capitalize and finish on the back side. We're getting there. It's a nice win. It's always nice to win over NYA."
The Flyers are back in action Saturday morning when they host defending Class D state champion Richmond. A trip to Traip looms Tuesday.
"Other than having a super fast forward and being state champs last year, I don't know much about (Richmond)," said Dominski. "They'll give us everything they have."
Waynflete travels to NYA for the rematch Saturday, Oct. 1.
The Panthers seek their first victory Friday when they host Traip. Sacopee Valley pays a visit Tuesday.
NYA and Waynflete's boys' teams are always among the top contenders in Western Class C and 2011 is no different.
The Flyers opened with easy wins at A.R. Gould (9-0) and Wells (8-0).
The Panthers have been up and down. They opened with a 7-0 home win over Traip, lost to visiting Sacopee, 2-0, pounded visiting Wells 11-0, then failed to hold a 3-1 halftime lead in a 5-3 loss at Freeport Saturday.
The teams had played 17 times over the past decade with NYA holding a 10-4 advantage, with three ties. Waynflete won both regular season meetings a year ago, 2-0 and 1-0, but the Panthers stunned the Flyers in the Western C Final, 1-0.
Wednesday's meeting was another intense chapter of the rivalry.
NYA senior captain Ryan Rousseau was active in the first half. He took a cross from sophomore Wesley Bright in the 14th minute, but headed it high. Six minutes later, he send a cross to explosive freshman DJ Nicholas, but Nicholas' header was saved by Waynflete junior goalkeeper Zander Majercik.
The hosts had a good chance in the 28th minute, but senior William Cleaves' shot in the box went wide.
Finally, with 10:15 to play in the first half, the Flyers struck when junior Mohammed Suja finished junior Peabo Knoth's shot in front for a 1-0 lead.
The second half would belong to the Panthers, but it took them awhile to draw even.
With 34:53 to play in regulation, Rousseau's shot in front off a corner kick forced Majercik to make a diving save. With 17:42 remaining, Rousseau's rush was broken up by Waynflete senior Addison St. Onge-May, who was stellar defensively all afternoon. A shot off the ensuing corner kick was punched aside by Majercik.
Finally, with 12:53 left, Rousseau was able to finish, banging home a loose ball in front.
A mere 39 seconds later, Flyers sophomore Elyse Bayizere looked to answer after taking a lead pass from junior Paul Runyambo, but omnipresent NYA senior Cailean "Nugget" Lane broke up the rush.
With 3:20 to go, Knoth took a pass from sophomore Joe Schnier and had a great look at a potential winner, but NYA senior goalkeeper Ryan Salerno made the save.
In the final minute, Runyambo had a shot with Salerno out of position, but Rousseau was there to clear the ball away and force overtime.
Little happened in the first of two five-minute, sudden victory OTs, but there was plenty of action in the second as neither team wanted to settle for a tie.
First, with 4:14 left, NYA junior Oliver Silverson floated a shot that Majercik had to snare. Thirty seconds later, at the other end, Suja set up Knoth, who broke into the box, but he shot wide to the right. With 2:51 showing, Panthers senior forward Asad Dahia made two nice moves to elude defenders, but his shot was denied by Majercik. A minute later, NYA had a corner kick, but Waynflete turned it aside.
In the final minute, Knoth had a rush broken up and a potential Panthers' two-on-one was broken up by St. Onge-May.
The final horn then sounded and teams wound up deadlocked, 1-1.
"This was important," said NYA coach Martyn Keen. "We're happy with a tie. Looking at the shot count in the first half, we had the numbers, but they were mostly long range shots. It wasn't a great goal they scored, but they all count the same. I'm pleased we showed resilience in the second half. It was good to come back. We've had some great games on this field. We've beaten them when we had to in big games. We're a work in progress. The new players are forced to step up instead of being role players. We have some athletes."
"I don't think it was either team's best soccer," said Waynflete coach Brandon Salway. "The better soccer's to come for both squads. (NYA) had chances all day. They could have easily tied it before. We could have won it. They could have won it. Both teams have work to do, but for an early season match, the intensity was good. I think we'll learn from it and hopefully get better. I was pleased with how hard we played. Our fitness is not great and it showed. We were fairly tired at the end. I'm pretty happy with the effort and I thought we had to gut it out a little bit. We'll get a lot better than we were today."
The Flyers are home versus Richmond Saturday and Traip Tuesday.
The Panthers go to Traip Friday and Sacopee Tuesday.
"We have a big game against Sacopee since they beat us," said Keen. "That's a big one. They look like they'll win 10 games. That's a lot of Heal Points, especially with them being a conference rival. We hope to do what we did in the past, play our best at the end. This showed us we're on the right road at least."
NYA will host Waynflete on Saturday, Oct. 1.